Two BT13's Crash Into Lake Near Lancaster


Date: May 19, 1944

Informant: PLUMBER, Marie

Victim: DOE, John, US Army Air Corps, Flight Cadet, Polaris Flight Academy, Lancaster, CA

Location: 3/4 mi. E. of Sierra Highway on Avenue C, 100 yds. N. of Ave C

At 9:49 AM on May 19, 1944 undersigned were detailed to the above location.

Upon arrival found two Army basic training planes, No. 1 - serial # 1219, No. 2 plane was submerged in a small lake so I was unable to obtain a serial number. Pilot was dead and lying on the ground a short distance east of crashed plane No. 1219.

Instructor Jack Hoover of Polaris Flight Academy, said pilot of the other plane stated that the planes were flying in formation when a slight bump was felt on his plane. Upon looking back he saw that the tail assembly was completely torn off . Plane went out of control and he immediately bailed out. The planes collided in mid air, at 4500 ft., while planes were climbing for altitude.

Name of Army cadet was withheld by Army authorities pending notification of next of kin. Army took charge of wrecked plane and body of victim.


I attempted to locate the remnants of either one of the Vultee BT13's to no avail. An extensive search was conducted on three separate occasions but no discernible aircraft wreckage was spotted. It is interesting to note that this crash occurred within a half-mile and on the opposite side of Avenue C, where a P38 had crashed five months earlier, in December of 1943 (see related article on home page).